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Karen Henry
Life Span Institute
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Researcher meets with U.S. Secretary of Education

Tue, 09/17/2013

LAWRENCE — University of Kansas Associate Research Professor Amy McCart shared her vision of inclusive education and how it might impact national policy with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and his senior staff. She was one of only three education experts invited to Washington to discuss how the administration could shape federal policy to encourage schools to prepare all students for college and careers — including those students with disabilities.

McCart is the director of technical assistance for the SWIFT Center (Schoolwide Integrated Framework for Transformation), an ambitious national K-8 school reform initiative funded by the largest grant ($24.5 million) in KU history from the U.S. Department of Education Special Education Programs.

Based on years of KU research in schools around the country led by McCart and Professor of Special Education Wayne Sailor, who directs SWIFT, the flexible use of funding, resources and supports for all children is key to the implementation.

According to McCart, SWIFT is a fundamental departure from the current system that has resulted in bureaucratic “silos” of funding that restrict access to children who could benefit from them: those with and without disabilities as well as non-English speakers.

“SWIFT was front and center in our discussion,” McCart said. “Their message to me was clear — that SWIFT is going to show us how to do this.”

McCart was called on to comment on something called the College and Career Ready Standards, part of the Obama administration’s goals for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (currently the No Child Left Behind Act) that, among other things, mandates equal access to education.

McCart said that educators are often skeptical of teaching students with extensive needs under the proposed standards and that they lack the resources and support to do so.

SWIFT research suggests that this can be done, though, said McCart. First, by leveraging all resources for all children through a multi-tiered system of support underpinned by positive behavioral support and interventions along with collaborative teaching.

“By linking individual learning outcomes to the standards, we can eliminate the need for the bureaucratic aspects of the current process,” she said.

McCart told the top education policy makers that they should begin to align the funding of general and special education toward a fully integrated national education system.

“When we create a climate where all students belong, where educators have support and resources and families are true partners, the differences are profound,” said McCart. “In the United States, equity in education means teaching every single student, however they come.”



Matt Menzenski, a graduate student in Slavic languages & literatures, took this photo during President Obama’s speech at KU Thursday. Menzenski says he was struck by how relaxed the president was in his delivery. He missed a chance to hear former President Bill Clinton speak in his hometown in 2004, but finally got to see a sitting president this week at KU. “The opportunity to hear the president speak is just one of many great opportunities I've had at KU. So many interesting talks and events happen here all the time. I try to attend at least one a week-- it's never hard to find something interesting to go to.” Tags: University of Kansas College of Liberal Arts and Sciences KU School of Languages, Literatures & Cultures KU Dept of Slavic Languages - Friends & Alumni Barack Obama The White House #exploreKU #POTUSatKU

#KUstudents , today is the last day to receive a 90% refund on a dropped class. #AcademicDeadline
Explore KU: The Bells of Mount Oread KU’s Campanile, a 120-foot-tall timepiece that tolls automatically on the hour and quarter-hour, not only sounded in the 2015 New Year at midnight with 12 mighty gongs, but also regularly rings up memories for many Jayhawks – the 277 faculty and students who gave their lives during World War II, the graduates who walk through its doors at commencement, and aspiring students who have strolled through the Lawrence campus. (See http://bit.ly/1xjjwJj). For nearly 60 years, KU’s 53-bell carillon has been tolling the sounds of peace and serenity across Mount Oread since it was installed in June 1955 inside the landmark World War II Memorial Campanile, which was dedicated in 1951. (See http://bit.ly/1BoL9jv) The carillon is also a four-octave musical instrument, which is played with a giant keyboard and foot pedals. University Carillonneur Elizabeth Egber-Berghout (http://bit.ly/14fiBPl), associate professor of carillon and organ, climbs 77 steps up a spiral staircase in the bell tower to perform recitals several times a month.


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